It occurs to me that the Pirates could have the top farm system in baseball by the end of this season.
A system already on the rise, with a lot of promise starting to show early in the season.
From Altoona on down, the Pirates have a very young team.
The Bradenton Marauders have the youngest group of position players in their league, with the pitching being middle of the pack.
Greensboro has both the youngest group of pitchers and position players in their league.
Altoona has the youngest group of position players in their league, and the second youngest group of pitchers.
The trend shown has been flashes of promise, with a lot of inconsistency. That is to be expected when you’re fielding the youngest team in the league across three leagues.
It seems like every night though, there’s someone making noise. Some nights you need to take your pick.
Tonight was the debut of Pirates’ 2020 second rounder Jared Jones, who was sitting 95-97, touching 99. He threw three shutout innings with six strikeouts. That’s impressive, considering he’s a year removed from high school, and now pitching in Low-A. The same game saw Hudson Head, Jase Bowen, and Alexander Mojica hit home runs.
One level up, top pitching prospect Quinn Priester threw five shutout innings.
A level higher, Cal Mitchell hit his third home run of the year.
That inconsistency does show the downside to youth in the minors. Roansy Contreras is one of the youngest pitchers in the Double-A Northeast league, and started off with 17.2 shutout innings in his first three starts. Tonight, he gave up five runs in four innings.
I’m reminded of a promising time back in 2012 with this franchise.
They started seeing waves of young prospects making their way up, starting in the Low-A ranks.
Starting that year.
The position player group on the 2012 West Virginia Power included Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson, Elias Diaz, Jose Osuna, Willy Garcia, and Josh Bell.
The pitching staff included Nick Kingham, Stetson Allie, future football punter Zack Von Rosenberg, and future WWE wrestler Rinku Singh.
It’s probably not a good thing that the Pirates had more people from that group succeeding in other sports than they did on their own team.
I believe the talent was there, and the Pirates couldn’t develop those players to their upsides.
The unfortunate thing is that we still don’t know if the Pirates will get there.
The promise in this system is evident.
The approach from this franchise has absolutely changed, and I’d say for the better.
Not that the old approach was bad. It was obviously flawed. Perhaps what was worse is that it didn’t really stand out. It was standard player development.
The approach the Pirates have now is standing out.
But, will it lead to MLB players in the future, or just former minor league teams loaded with former prospects?
When I get back in my DeLorean, I’ll let you guys know what happened with these guys.
Until then, what young player has you surprised/excited so far?